In honor of this Veteran’s Day on 11-11-11, we’d like to bring attention to a population of tinnitus sufferers that often gets ignored: military veterans. All people can get tinnitus, but veterans are showing up with tinnitus more frequently than the rest of the population. It’s a serious problem, and one that’s often going untreated. Veterans often can’t get the care that they desperately need because there isn’t any money for it, so the problems that they face after they’ve selflessly served their country are neglected.
Because ringing in the ears is treated as something very minor in comparison to other types of health problems, a lot of veterans don’t even see their doctors about it. Those who do find that they aren’t really taken very seriously, because most cases of tinnitus are subjective. If the doctor can’t hear it and can’t find an obvious cause for it, it’s difficult to prove that there is really anything wrong at all. Not all cases of buzzing in the ears are subjective, but the largest majority are.
For people who have objective cases of tinnitus – where the sound is audible to others or there is an obvious physical cause for the noise in ears – there are more treatments available. Because there are a lot of perceived problems with the care of veterans, it’s clear that tinnitus isn’t one of the things that’s top on the list for treated illnesses.
Still, however, it’s a serious problem for those who deal with it and anyone who experiences a lot of ringing in the ears gets tired of it very quickly. It’s important that veterans are recognized and that their problems are addressed, because of the service that they’ve given to their country.
They often get tinnitus because of the noise in ears that they face on a daily basis. If they are part of a war, there are guns firing, missiles, bombs, and all kinds of other loud noises. They have to be able to hear their teammates and other soldiers, so they don’t want to wear earplugs all the time. The enemy would be able to sneak up on them if they couldn’t hear what was going on around them.
Even though the loud noises that the soldiers face aren’t prolonged, usually, they are repetitious. That’s just as bad when it comes to developing problems like ringing in the ears, because the repeated loud noises don’t give the delicate inner parts of the ear much recovery time between one noise and another. That’s a serious issue, and it’s part of the reason why so many veterans are developing tinnitus.
Even if they haven’t been to war, the loudness of the training exercises that many of them go through can cause them to have buzzing in their ears and other problems as they get older. It’s something that should be taken seriously by veterans and the people who treat them, because it’s not a problem that will just go away.
It can be made better for most people with proper tinnitus treatment, but that treatment needs to be available to the veterans who really need it. Right now, on 11-11-11, we’re reminded that it’s an area that’s lacking, but that can be changed to give more veterans a better quality of life.